You’re very interested in learning MMA or mixed martial arts, and I think that’s a great thing. More than likely you started watching the UFC or Bellator or some other MMA promotion and you saw the way these guys fight, and you were very eager and interested to learn more.
I had the same background, I was a big UFC fan, and around 2009 my fandom and interest in UFC switched to learning Jiu-Jitsu. I think if you’re interested in the MMA world and you want to grow in your knowledge and in your ability to access mixed martial arts as a skill, I think it is best to start with jiu-jitsu. That’s how I started. I started with Jiu-Jitsu, and I later learned striking, but I really think it was the right move to start with Jiu-Jitsu because I do think that grappling in Jiu-Jitsu is the quintessential base for success in MMA.
If you were starting completely fresh and you had never learned anything before, you would be way better served to start with MMA than you would be to start with striking, but the basic reason for that is, we know if you’re a fan of MMA, I don’t feel like I should have to tell you this, but maybe you came to it much later in the sport, but what we know from the earliest days of MMA is, when we put a pure striker versus a pure grappler, we know the grappler wins. We know that is a scientific experiment that’s been completed multiple times and we know what the result is. The grappler wins. We know that once the grappler gets close, the striker’s chances just go straight out the window. So, what we know is that grappling, and Jiu-Jitsu are simply a prerequisite for any kind of mixed martial arts success.
So, if you’re starting with nothing, you must learn some Jiu-Jitsu. Otherwise, any Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, or even just someone with just a basic knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu, and they get you on the ground you’re going to feel like you’re in the deep end of a pool and you don’t know how to swim, and they do. Their level of advantage is just going to be so much higher versus striking. Striking is great and I love striking, but the reality is that punching is something that comes pretty natural to us as homo sapiens. We have clubs on the ends of our arms, and we have a shoulder rotation mechanism that most kids can figure out. They don’t need a lot of training to be able to put a fist into your face. Most people will be able to do that to a certain extent.
Now, there’s a lot of value to training striking and getting better at that. That’s not my point. My point is, you could know nothing about striking and only know Jiu-Jitsu and you would have a much greater chance for success in MMA than you would if you were to just purely strike.
The other reason to start with Jiu-Jitsu is, I presume that you want to achieve some measure of self-defense, and to achieve any sort of measure of self-defense, the main goal of self-defense is simple, you have to think about it strategically. If it’s self-defense and we’re talking about just defending myself if the confrontation is with someone bigger than me, the last thing I want to do is stand at a range where I can hit them, because that means that they can hit me, and if they hit me too hard and I can’t take that punch, I’m likely just to get knocked out.
Self-defense is running. Primarily, it’s getting out of that situation that’s the best skill of self-defense. Now, the only time I can’t run is when you get a hold of me or when you get on top of me and that’s why we start off all of our Jiu-Jitsu training with the best in how to get up, get free and get away. That should be the first thing that you know how to do, because then you’re actually a martial artist and you know how to deal with the most primary situation or problem. Then, what we layer onto that is, what am I going to do to defend somebody that’s being attacked? Like a loved one being attacked? Well, again I’m going to go to Jiu-Jitsu because maybe I roll up hit that guy as hard as I can, and he just laughs it off. He’s just one of those guys, he’s like Texas Cobb, you can google Texas Cobb, a boxer from a bygone era. He used to be able to take an enormous number of punches in a single fight and he wouldn’t get knocked out and people said, “Oh his heart is amazing, what a tough guy”. Yeah, he’s really tough guy and if you meet someone like Texas Cobb, you could be an excellent boxer, you could be a world champion boxer, not knock him out. World champion boxers didn’t knock that guy out. But, if I can get behind him and I can get on his neck, this is just a scientifically proven thing, I can close off the blood flow and these arteries and I just reduce your blood flow enough that your brain does not get enough blood and you will go unconscious. If I hold that for a very long sustained amount of time this will lead to death. I’m going to let go of that once you go unconscious because I’m just a nice guy, but I can put a much larger man into an unconscious state, even if he’s a whole lot tougher than me, a whole lot stronger than me, a whole lot more genetically gifted than me, and that is the beauty of Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a great equalizer between someone a lot smaller and something a lot bigger.
I think you should come and learn Jiu-Jitsu as you’re starting an MMA journey which I applaud. I think MMA is fantastic. I’m still a big MMA fan, but I think you should come down and learn some great Jiu-Jitsu. The type of Jiu-Jitsu that we practice at my gym is going to be specialized for self-defense for Jiu-Jitsu sport and also for MMA. I try to always have a Jiu-Jitsu that’s going to cover all three because, at this point Jiu-Jitsu has become so specialized at the sport level that some of the sport Jiu-Jitsu that you might learn at other gyms, simply doesn’t apply to an MMA or self-defense scenario. They’re starting to work within the very specific rule sets of IBJJF and things like that, I try to teach my guys and gals Jiu-Jitsu, it’s that they don’t have to choose a modality. A Jiu-Jitsu that’s going to work in all three scenarios, self-defense, MMA and sport jiu-jitsu gets you success at all three levels so that you’re not in some situation where you’re like ‘Oh wait, should I use this move? Oh, would this work in MMA?’. I’m teaching a Jiu-Jitsu that works for all of these things and I’m fairly confident that you will see a great amount of success in your MMA training if you start with Jiu-Jitsu with us.
Come on down to SBG Texas and check things out.
Have a great day.